Who's the funniest comedian: Jon Stewart or Steve Martin? | The Tylt
Who's the funniest comedian: Jon Stewart or Steve Martin?
After a year like 2016, we could all use a laugh. That's why we've taken 16 of the most beloved comedians of all-time and having them square off against each other all month long! Who's the funniest? You decide and we'll announce the king of comedy in just seven days!
Steve Martin is a living legend. His career spans music, theatre, film, stand-up, novels and pretty much just about everything else under the sun. What makes Martin stand out is that he never followed the pack.
His comedy was dubbed “anti-humor” for the way he toyed with traditional forms of jokes and entertainment; Martin would play similar games in his movies and theater work. It can be difficult to appreciate how revolutionary this was at the time, given how his sophisticated relationship toward entertainment has since taken hold in pop culture. While conceptual comedy has largely vanished from major stages, you can see Martin’s influence in almost every notable comedy of the past 30 years. If Louis CK doesn’t owe him a debt, Louie does.
Here's how Martin describes his comedy:
The result was an act founded on surrealism and non sequiturs, bits that zagged where every other comic had zigged. Martin counted on the audience knowing entertainment conventions; the joke was how those conventions were being subverted. “My act, having begun three years earlier as a conventional attempt to enter regular show business, was becoming a parody of comedy,” he wrote of his creative evolution. “I was an entertainer who was playing an entertainer, a not so good one.”
Few comedians have been able to enter the American consciousness like Jon Stewart. His biting comedy skewered politicians and media pundits in order to reveal the absurdity of American politics. His comedy has become the standard for political humor—no one has been able to top his particular brand of satire since the end of his run on "The Daily Show."
Four nights a week for sixteen years, Jon Stewart, the host and impresario of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” has taken to the air to expose our civic bizarreries. He has been heroic and persistent. Blasted into orbit by a trumped-up (if you will) impeachment and a stolen Presidential election, and then rocketing through the war in Iraq and right up to the current electoral circus, with its commodious clown car teeming with would-be Commanders-in-Chief, Stewart has lasered away the layers of hypocrisy in politics and in the media. On any given night, a quick montage of absurdist video clips culled from cable or network news followed by Stewart’s vaudeville reactions can be ten times as deflating to the self-regard of the powerful as any solemn editorial—and twice as illuminating as the purportedly non-fake news that provides his fuel.
This bit encapsulate's Steve Martin's humor. Here's how the A.V. Club describes it:
If you were to condense the genius of Steve Martin down to one moment, you could do worse than “King Tut,” which contains elements that appear throughout his career, cutting across his acting, writing, and stand-up. There’s the sudden juxtaposition between utter seriousness and total goofiness, the lack of self-awareness, and material that works both ironically and sincerely.